Here they – the Flin Flon Community Choir, under the direction of Crystal Kolt – goes again. My, my; how can we resist them?
One of the most popular musical experiences of the new millenium comes to Flin Flon on May 9-12 and the good news is there were, at press time, still 60 tickets available for the various nights of the run.
The cast is spectacular, thanks in no small part to the hard work and incredible experience of Ann Hodges, director extraordinaire. She came, she saw and she moulded the cast, dancers and crew into shape evenings and weekends, after work for most. Of course, she has done it before with Les Miserables, but this production has dancing. Hodges is really talented and can “see” the whole show so she can pace the action and hit the “buttons” (that’s a term I learned from sneaking into rehearsals) for maximum effect. All the while, she builds to the big moments. She really is brilliant.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, there is a lot going on in Flin Flon this weekend. It still amazes that it is still true.
We are wrapping up International Women’s Day (which was seriously International Women’s Week) with a Local Routes performance on Friday at Doug and Ann’s Magical Cabaret (okay - I made that up but it really does need a name). Doors are open at 7 p.m. and the entertainment is free. There will be snacks courtesy of the International Women’s Day Committee and tea and coffee courtesy of Ann.
Happy New Year, everyone! This will be a year of change for our town and the whole region, as Hudbay makes the initial changes that may affect the workforce. There may be some challenges in our future, so we will have to try to initiate new and diverse economic opportunities for all. After all, we are a diverse and resilient community and we have no end of talent, so let’s get this party started and make a meaningful contribution to the Flin Flon area.
The NorVA Centre is opening a new exhibition by local photographer Bea Walker and local sculptor Doug Dmytriw in January. The opening reception and artists’ talks will be on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. at NorVA and the show will run throughout January.
We came, we saw and we conquered at the Manitoba Arts Network (MAN) Showcase Conference in Portage la Prairie the weekend of Oct. 26. There were representatives from every arts council and arts organization in Manitoba, as well as several funders of the arts, like the Manitoba Arts Branch, Manitoba Arts Council and Manitoba Music as well as federal funders like Heritage and Culture Canada. Six of us, from Flin Flon, and two youth representatives, learned the ropes. Even with MAN support for a youth involvement initiative, no other arts council in Manitoba had youth reps with them. Bravo, Flin Flon Arts Council, for leading the way yet again!
“Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the birdies is?
They say the bird is on the wing, Ain’t that absurd?
I always thought the wing was on the bird!”
I always thought that Ogden Nash wrote that little poem, but when I checked to be sure, before I put it into the newspaper, I discovered that it was the prolific writer Anonymous! Ah well, another childhood dream gone.
April is National Poetry Month and the Flin Flon Writers Guild hosted another wonderful Poetry Night, in conjunction with the Flin Flon Public Library. A veritable who’s who of area residents read some wonderful writings from all over the world. The chorus of Mamma Mia was excused from those duties in honour of the event. Poetry does not often get its place in the limelight and we have some amazing talent in our communities - perhaps we should incorporate some readings at Culture Days celebrations?
What a whirlwind two weeks we have just had! Ann Hodges, the extraordinary director bringing our Flin Flon and area cast into the (stage) light of Mamma Mia was here to set up the whole stage play. Also along for the ride was Seth Johnson, from a small town outside St. John, NB via Toronto, who will play Sky, Sophie’s love interest. Even though we have had the experience of Hodges’ talent before, one must marvel at just how easy she makes it seem to put a musical on the stage. Between Feb 1 and Feb 10, the entire show came together before our eyes. Teachers, nurses, geologists and radio DJs became Sophie, Donna, Bill and Sam; dancers and actors emerged while we looked on - awestruck!
This is the last column of 2018, so Happy Holidays to all!
It has been an amazing year of arts and cultural events in Flin Flon and area, but hold on to your hats because, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
Last year kicked off with a bang. We had a Loaded Mic night produced by Trevor Gordon at Johnny’s Social Club, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Film Their Finest at Hapnot’s Dorothy Ash Theatre, the incredible Quartetto Gelato at the RH Channing Auditorium and our Amisk Tours trip to Winnipeg to see the exceptional production of “Come From Away” at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. That trip included a stay at the Inn at the Forks, dinner at Smith restaurant and a fabulous question and answer session with RMTC artistic director Stephen Schipper. The NorVA exhibition was Joseph Reys: Fever Dreams and a show of bird prints by Beth Gillespie. And that was only January.
Flin Flon Home Routes is in action this week featuring Montreal blues performer Adam Karsh. He has played all across North America and has crossed Canada by train, giving performances in literally hundreds of venues. Karsh’s fourth album is called Moving Forward and will be based on his adventures on the rails. Adam’s guitar-based blues appeals to music lovers of many genres, including blues, country, rock and alternative.
Even if the weather is not very cooperative, there are good times to be had at Johnny’s Social Club courtesy of the Local Roots organization. Doug McGregor and Ann Ross organize and host these opportunities for local area musicians to strut their stuff, often at their home. Every once in a while, they decide it’s time to give back, usually to an organization that does good works, by hosting a fundraising evening. April 6 will be such an event and the beneficiary this time is A Port in the Storm, a Winnipeg-based group that provides accommodation for people from rural and northern Manitoba who need to be in Winnipeg for extended stays for health reasons.
There are some wonderful performances coming up in Flin Flon over the weekend.
On Friday, Feb. 8 and Saturday, Feb. 9, the incredible and amazing Lynne Hanson will be performing house concerts in town as part of the Home Routes series. These shows are always special, but this month is exceptional.
Hanson won in two of the five categories she was nominated in at the Canadian Folk Music Awards in December 2018. She won in the English language songwriting category and with her collaborator Lynn Miles in the contemporary ensemble category.
It’s December already! How is it that I have this experience every year? There is probably no help for me, so I will get on with the arts and culture events coming up and spare you the wailing and gnashing of teeth that I am doing daily as I fail to “get ready” for Christmas.
Flin Flon Arts Council presents the Flin Flon Community Choir (FFCC) concert, “A Canadian Christmas,” featuring (partially) homegrown jazz performer Joanna Majoko, on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 2 pm at the Community Hall. This will be a fantastic opportunity to hear the full choir sing Christmas favourites in four-part harmony and celebrate the winter holiday season with Joanna’s beautiful song stylings.
With Culture Days and the first snowfall now behind us, it’s time to get serious about the season – arts and culture season, that is, and all that Flin Flon and the surrounding area has to offer to the north.
This is a very exciting weekend for Flin Flon/Creighton/Denare Beach area audiences because the ballet is coming to town. Canada’s Ballet Jörgen, a premier international company from Toronto, will be here on Saturday, March 23 to perform Coppélia. This will be the first full-length ballet ever performed here and I think it will be magnificent.
We have had ballet before, with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) performing in the RH Channing Auditorium some years ago and the Professional School of the RWB just three years ago. They were wonderful and beautiful to watch dancing excerpts from ballets in their repertoire which were lovely, but you didn’t actually see the story unfold. It’s not the same when you only read it in the program. Ballet Jörgen will dance the whole story of Coppélia right in front of our eyes.
By the time you read this, we will have met the three Inspiration: Knowledge and Development presenters, Dorothy Dobbie, Jean Giguere and Janice Price and we will have attended the tourism summit at the Creighton Community Centre.
With any luck, we will have exited the deep freeze as well. Hope everyone had a great and informative time. This column will roll out the ideas generated for our communities in the next few weeks.
Ah, dear readers, let me start with an apology. We had the dates wrong for some events in the last column (not trying to make excuses but there is an awful lot happening in Flin Flon and area! Well… maybe a little excuse!)
However, it did give you a bit more breathing space to fit everything into your schedules.
That being said, we do have a Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) film, Home Routes shows and the Johnny’s Anti Social Club Band playing songs of the Rolling Stones, all for your entertainment, coming up in the next week or so.